In a suspected racial attack, an Air India pilot was asked to remove his turban at Madrid airport following which Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar urging him to take up the matter at the international level.
Sirsa expressed concern over the incident saying that the pilot, Captain Simranjeet Singh Gujral, was asked to remove his headgear by airport officials, despite crossing the metal detector. Sirsa called it a case of bias and racism towards Sikhs.
"I wish to share with you the harassment faced by an Air India official, Captain Simranjeet Singh Gujral, at Madrid airport. He was subjected to racial discrimination because of his turban. The Madrid airport officials demanded him to remove his turban and asked for a manual check-up of his turban which is an offence in the eyes of a Sikh," Sirsa said in the letter.
"All this happened despite Captain Gujral clearing the metal detectors. Truly, this is a case of bias and racial attitude towards Sikhs at the Madrid airport," he said.
The SAD leader apprised Jaishankar that such incidents have happened at Madrid airport earlier too, in the recent past, where people of Sikh faith were asked to remove the turban or the officials disrespected the turban by manhandling the people from the community.
"As you are well aware, the turban is the essence of a Sikh's identity and it is important to create awareness at the global level about how sensitive Sikhs are about their turban. I request your good self to raise this issue at the global level and especially with Spain government at Madrid airport who continue to hurt our sentiments and play the "ignorance" card to their advantage," Sirsa outlined.
On Tuesday, the SAD leader said he got a call from the AI pilot, who apprised him about his mistreatment by officials at the Madrid airport.
"I got a call from Captain Simran Gujral from the AIR INDIA flying AI 136 who was harassed at Madrid Airport where the airport officials mistreated him just because he was wearing turban. This is a racial behaviour and a disrespect towards Sikh turban," he tweeted.
"I request @DrSJaishankar Ji to address the issue at the global level and ensure that Sikhs don't get mistreated globally because of their turban," Sirsa said in a follow-up tweet.
(With agency inputs)